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Peter’s Take: Trump’s Budget Is Bad For Virginia

Peter Rousselot

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Last week, Donald Trump presented his first budget blueprint.

Regardless of its prospects, this blueprint is important because it offers the most detail to date regarding what the President wants to see happen. It exposes Trump’s values and priorities.

Trump’s budget is a moral failure

Although numerous other examples are discussed, one illustration of Trump’s budget’s moral failure is his proposal to cut funding upon which the Meals on Wheels program depends. CNN’s Jim Acosta asked Trump’s Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney, whether the budget was hard-hearted:

“No, I don’t think so,” Mulvaney replied. “I think it’s probably one of the most compassionate things we can do.”

“To cut programs that help the elderly and kids?” Acosta asked, incredulously.

“We’re trying to focus on both the recipients of the money and the folks who give us the money in the first place,” Mulvaney explained. “And I think it’s fairly compassionate to go to them and say, ‘Look, we’re not gonna ask you for your hard-earned money, anymore, single mother of two in Detroit … unless we can guarantee to you that that money is actually being used in a proper function.'”

WRONG. There’s not an ounce of compassion here. That single mom in Detroit, a New York billionaire in Trump’s cabinet and all other federal taxpayers should continue to share the responsibility to use their hard-earned money to help fund Meals on Wheels — and many other programs from which Trump’s budget would cut funding.

Asked what she would say to Trump, one Trump voter responded: “What if it was your mama?”

Trump’s budget hurts Virginia

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) has prepared a lengthy fact sheet listing Trump’s budget cuts that would hurt Virginia. A small fraction of those cuts are:

$2.6 billion cut to the Environmental Protection Agency could jeopardize:

  • The Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Program, which would be cut entirely under Trump’s budget. The program has reduced pollution, bolstered oyster and crab populations, and driven tourism and outdoor recreation.
  • The Clean Power Plan and climate change research, which is critical to combatting sea level rise in Hampton Roads and climate effects across Virginia.

$2.4 billion cut to the Department of Transportation could jeopardize:

  • Metro capital investment, which helps Metro reduce its maintenance backlog.

Proposed cuts in the Department of Homeland Security could jeopardize:

  • The budget proposes cutting FEMA preparedness grants for state and local entities by $667 million. In 2016, Virginia received more than $18 million in FEMA preparedness grants for counterterrorism efforts including local law enforcement equipment and training and transit security.
  • The TSA’s VIPR program, which conducts targeted operations at transportation hubs including Dulles International Airport, Reagan National Airport, and Virginia metro stations.

$100 Million cut to NASA could jeopardize:

  • STEM Education in Virginia. Trump’s budget would eliminate NASA’s Office of Education ($115 million), which has supported scholarships and educational opportunities for thousands of Virginia students, particularly minorities and women. (Moving Virginia backward toward the Hidden Figures SAD.)

Trump’s budget hurts Virginia Trump voters

Voters in Appalachian areas of Virginia would be particularly hurt by Trump’s proposal to completely defund the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Of the 420 counties served by ARC, 399 voted for Trump. You can review the ARC Virginia programs that would be defunded.

Conclusion

Trump’s budget is mean-spirited, harmful, and counterproductive. 

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